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  1. The indegenous population in Canada were defeated by the French and then by the British. My ancestor, Jacques Cartier, called them savages on his first voyage and Indians on his second voyage because he thought he found the passage of India. Try explaining that to people who use Wikipedia as their only source of reference material. When the wealthy indigenous chiefs apologize to me, for every time Indians beat me, and left me in pools of blood I might listen. It was always four or five to one.

    On the second point regarding a carbon tax I feel no guilt at all. Professor Klaus Schwab put together many downloadable articles about the phrase he coined The Great Reset. I see it as a challenge to individuals, private sector, the incredibly huge public sector and elected individuals.

    I challenge everyone, who can read and comprehend, to visit the World Economic Forum website. If anyone can come up with a better idea it will need to go to a royal commission via our uneleced senate. Our major problem in Canada is the unelected bureaucracy operating the municipal, provincial and federal governments. Let’s not forget the 1000s of boards and committees and their colorful reports no one reads.

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  2. Andrew, I appreciate your timely take on this. I see the Globe and Mail in its new role as the propaganda organ of both the climate change and the indigenous movements has killed both birds with one stone with an op-Ed (which I confess I did not read) along the lines that First Nations will not let Canada — we’re always in the third person — ignore its commitments on GHG emissions. I assume this guilt trip implies that, once vaccine has been delivered to every indigenous adult in Canada, rail and pipeline blockades will resume — until a sufficiently large cheque is written, of course. Then all is forgiven. Until next time.

    But my main point on guilt is this. As you say, your ancestors had nothing to do with the Mississauga Purchase or the Numbered Treaties or even the residential schools or Amherst’s brilliant (if dastardly by today’s sensibilities) use of smallpox to break Pontiac’s siege of Detroit. Yet, (I presume here) that you look enough like me to be smeared with the same guilt, if you would be willing to give it uptake. But what of people who don’t look like us? 21% of Canadians were born somewhere else, and even more are the Canadian-born children of immigrants who arrived around the same time as you did. Most are from Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. “Settler guilt” is a parochial issue that must weigh even more lightly on them. What do they think of attempts to make it stick?

    Perhaps they are too polite to tell us, or pollsters too squeamish to ask them. But I know this. Indians (from India) know a thing or three about being subjugated and exploited by a racist, minority foreign power and they are not going to let it happen to them here. Or, to put it another way, can the Liberal Party be the “party of immigrants”and at the same time attempt to curry favour with a racially defined minority who talks openly of someday pushing back into the sea all those whose ancestors weren’t already here in 1600?

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  3. Mr. Roman;

    I take strong exception to your labeling the carbon tax as just guilt marketing. I understand the goal is to reduce GHG emissions. One approach, a carbon tax or polluter pays, is a rational one and supported by the Economist, the FT and other credible sources for years. I suggest you would better serve the cause by directing your thoughts towards replacing Alberta’s coal fired power plants – something Ontario did a decade ago, and greening our fossil fuel transportation system. Unless you subscribe to Canadians just sitting back – as you pointed out we are only 0.48% of the global population.

    Doug Bell


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    • Like many Canadians, I would be inclined to support a carbon tax as long as it rewards me and doesn’t penalize me for doing things I already do. Tax big SUVs and motor boats? Bring it on, especially if you rebate to me the tax “those people” pay. I don’t drive to work and my recreation is bicycling and canoeing. I’m not likely to need a lot of cement for the rest of my life, so I will happily take the rebates of tax that cement users have to pay. I’m probably done with long flying, so I profit again.

      But I heat my house with good cheap reliable Alberta gas, not expensive green Ontario electricity. If carbon taxing more than doubles the cost of natural gas by 2030, I will not like that one little bit. I believe that GHGs are causing and will cause at least some warming. But I honestly don’t care if sea levels rise. Your hectoring will not make me change my mind. But it will make me work to change the government if it doubles the cost of heating my house.

      This is what makes AGW an intractable collective action problem. We all know that everyone else will cheat. Hence carbon taxing is just marketing, as Mr. Roman says.

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    • Mr. Bell, if I may respond on Mr. Roman’s behalf, it is important to note how the current carbon pricing system in Canada departs from the theoretical ideal that is often used by proponents to justify it.

      In theory, the price increase caused by carbon taxes should reflect the “social cost of carbon”, or the estimated present value of the impact that an emitted tonne of carbon dioxide today will have on humans in the future. In fact, no one really knows what this is. The Canadian rates are based on political, not economic, considerations.

      Carbon taxes are beneficial when they provide a market-based substitute for a host of intrusive government programs and regulations that seek to manage and direct consumer and industry behaviour. Canada’s system merely adds to a large and growing number of government regulations, subsidies and other program measures. There are over 300 of these.

      The proponents of carbon pricing discount the adverse effects that such systems will have on competitiveness. However, in Canada the taxes will have severe adverse effects on the emissions-intensive sectors and firms in Canada. This includes primarily firms in the emissions-intensive industries like oil and gas, mining, petrochemicals, iron, steel, cement, metal fabrication and vehicle and parts manufacturing. The United States, our main trading partner, has no federal carbon tax and China has regional taxes of about $2 per tonne.

      Revenue recycling, in theory, should be done in ways that would minimize the adverse macroeconomic effects of the tax, ideally through reductions in the rates of other generally -applied taxes like corporate income taxes. The Canadian system, to the extent that it provides for recycling, is instead an income redistribution system. It is still not yet clear how much businesses will benefit from rebates. The rebates thus serve essentially to deflect the criticism that carbon taxes are a “revenue grab”, while failing to compensate households for the full economic costs of imposing the tax.

      In summary, the Canadian carbon pricing system is a deeply flawed departure from the theoretical ideal that is used to justify its use.

      On the broader question of climate advocacy as a model of guilt marketing, I think that is not a bad comparison. The attribution of climate guilt is built on three premises or presumptions. It starts with the unproven presumption that human GHG emissions are causing catastrophic global warming. It proceeds through the demonstrably false claim that the governments of the world are directing the global economy to reduced emissions (global emissions are 60% higher today than when countries started setting emission reduction targets in 1992). It includes the strange proposition that Canada, with 1.6% of global emissions, can somehow change the trends set by emissions growth in Asia (the non-OECD countries, mostly in Asia, now account for 65% of global emissions). The developing countries have shamelessly tried to play the guilt card in the discussions within the United Nations on who should pay for their emissions reductions. India famously asked for $1 trillion.

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